QUEST: Turin/Sanchez top 100 (ish!) - Index and Week 1 (Shalimar and Opium)

Kotori

In my little cloud
Basenotes Plus
Aug 17, 2006
On the other hand, both perfumes bring to mind good friends who wore them well in the late 80s and early 90s--all of them dramatic brunettes, for what it's worth. (Maybe it's the smell of drama that makes them both a nonstarter for me . . . I never thought about that before :undecided:).

Not gonna lie- you just described me in the late 90's/early 2000's when Shalimar was in the (small) wardrobe.
 

Kotori

In my little cloud
Basenotes Plus
Aug 17, 2006
I'm going to add some flanker reviews here and there:

Shalimar Parfum Initial:

Whoah! Aldehydes! Those are new for Shalimar. It takes me a minute or two to be able to recognize any Shalimar here. At first it's a sharp-sweet aldehydic floral and while I know there is likely bergamot, it's hard to detect. After a bit that tonka/leather/vanilla thing that is Shalimar's base arrives, and I can make the flanker connection. The citrus is brighter-- more like a tangerine note than the lemon/bergamot for which Shalimar is famous. The citrus I can detect is more reminiscent of the bright, aldehydic citrus in No. 5 L'Eau. Later, a heavy dose of white musk announces its presence loudly. Finally, a patchouli note sashays in and steals the spotlight.

This is a far less citric and astringent Shalimar, with the tonka and white noise turned up and the smoke, citrus, and rich vanilla turned down. It's not as dark, bright, or sweaty as Shalimar. I like this better than Shalimar Soufflé; it's not as thin. It's fine-tuned to attract the gourmand-loving 20- and 30-somethings to whom things like Black Opium were directed. It's lovely, and I think I'd like it a lot if I weren't expecting it to be Shalimar.
 
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thediamondsea

Basenotes Dependent
Jan 10, 2016
The now-discontinued L'Eau version of the Parfum Initial is also a real treat. Its opening is so tart that, once the vanilla joins in, it kind of swerves toward key lime pie territory to me. Oh! And Eau de Shalimar is also scrummy. I find both of these more wearable, because when it comes to heavy orientals, I am a total Philistine.
 

yellowtone

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Aug 27, 2016
The now-discontinued L'Eau version of the Parfum Initial is also a real treat. Its opening is so tart that, once the vanilla joins in, it kind of swerves toward key lime pie territory to me. Oh! And Eau de Shalimar is also scrummy. I find both of these more wearable, because when it comes to heavy orientals, I am a total Philistine.


You make the L'Eau sound very interesting! Now I'm craving key lime pie...
 

cacio

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Nov 5, 2010
I was out for a few weeks, so coming back to this now-what a great read!

I think Nastka nails it when she describes vintage Opium as carnations - to me, the big note was clove (I believe it was eugenol?). Like a punch through the heavy ambery and spicy curtains, which balanced the whole thing. No wonder the current Opium feels weaker and closer to the rounder Shalimar. Usually, Opium is classified in the other main oriental category (Shalimar=vanillic oriental, Opium = mellis oriental) and so it shoud be related more to Youth Dew and eventually Tabu. I think the exercise would be to smell vintage Youth Dew and vintage Opium. Both, I think, have plenty of spices and eugenol.

cacio
 

Kotori

In my little cloud
Basenotes Plus
Aug 17, 2006
Vintage Youth Dew and vintage Opium are definitely close, cacio, but youth dew has this beautiful floral note (Jasmine I think? My Youth Dew sample is really old, I think) that Opium lacks.

Opium_ Tall bottle, yellow juice

I'm wearing current-ish Opium right now, but it's an older bottle than what we sprayed at Dillard's a few weeks ago. This one has gone off in the top notes so that the Orange smells like celery seed and the overall effect is icky spicy green chypre. Then that part burns off and the lovely smoky spices enter the picture. Opium certainly has a spicier, clovier character than Youth Dew or Shalimar. It's almost tabaccoey in its smoky texture. This part is Opium's true character, and I don't remember this part from the newer bottle at the department store. I like it now, but it does feel like I'm wearing another woman's suit (it has big shoulder pads and lingering aroma of cigarettes and hairspray). Mr. Kotori notes, "I will kiss you, anyway," with a sour face.
 
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Kotori

In my little cloud
Basenotes Plus
Aug 17, 2006
Curent Shalimar EDT

<<guttural moan>>

My poor baby has been neutered! Ohhh... I mean, I knew it had been tweaked. I'd noticed immediately that it was sharper and thinner than when last I'd smelled it. But I hadn't owned a bottle in years, and the differences hadn't struck me so viscerally as they do tonight. I have on a Shalimar EDT current version after having found an old 2005-2010 tester bottle and spritzed it on yesterday. I also applied that bottle to a strip, and that strip, still in my purse, is more fragrant than my wrist just sprayed in the last hour with the newer version! I think I will weep now.

<<tiptoes off to buy some old bottle Shalimar>>
 
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Ebenas

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jan 1, 2006
Curent Shalimar EDT sharper and thinner

Sharp and thin - that's exactly what was bugging me about the opening of Shalimar! I wore L'Eau d'Ambre yesterday to check if this is a feature of such Orientals and it also has a sharpish opening but nothing like Shalimar.

I'm thinking I might try Black Opium tomorrow to round the week out. It's funny hearing mentions of Youth Dew - this was something I wouldn't dream of wearing up to around five years ago. I was still caught in my teenage memories of it being a 'Mum' perfume (never mind that my mother and friends were in their early 40s and having a great old time at that stage!). Now I can't get enough of these balsamy beauties.
 
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Bal a Versailles

Basenotes Dependent
Feb 15, 2012
Opium, first acquired in the 1970s, huge carnation, stunning drydown, superior to Youth Dew and Cinnabar. Worn by absolutely everyone at the time, therefore, Been there, done that, a phase. It was the 'Angel' of its time. Bought Bal a Versailles instead of Shalimar during 70s, 80s, didn't see the need for both. Confirm that Shalimar is now sharp and thin. Now own Eau de Shalimar 2015, very like Shalimar Eau Legere. Love this for my age and time. IMHO current offering, red bottle, Samsara is more wearable than the original (that was a Sandalwood millstone)
 

yellowtone

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Aug 27, 2016
Oh, I see you're wearing Samsara! I still haven't tried it.

Yeah, I couldn't help myself and popped into a store to spray some on on my way to work. I'm currently eyeing some vintage Samsara extrait online...

I'm really enjoying everyone's notes around here, and it makes me realize that I don't have a good notion of what carnation smells like. Must fix that!
 

Ebenas

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jan 1, 2006
Hi all
A little housekeeping

I've just put up the Week 2 thread:

Week 2 - Dior Homme and Eau Sauvage

This thread remains open and stickied. In the first post of THIS thread, I've put a link to Week 2, and it also comes up on the forum pages (but is not stickied - this thread stays on as the index - really hope that makes sense - I've been running myself in circles to get links working). I'm going to stagger the weeks like this - the next thread goes up on Friday night/Saturday of the previous thread. But all the threads stay open for further input, and they can all be accessed from the first post of this one.

Housekeeping done!

I'm really enjoying the discussions here and haven't quite finished my explorations in Opium and Shalimar country (not to mention Samsara, Youth Dew, Cinnabar). I think I'd become too niche in a way, and had forgotten or never noticed the amazing scents lurking in department stores and shops!

Hope we all march onward to the Dior men's counter!
 
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Kotori

In my little cloud
Basenotes Plus
Aug 17, 2006
This thread may start having dangerous side effects on our wallets! Have you by any chance also tried the current EdP version, and if so, how does that compare?

I haven't been able to find a tester yet of the EDP, although I'll be keeping my eyes out now. Guerlain is extremely hard to find in the American south.

I haven't bought it yet. I found a bottle and told Mr. Kotori about it. My birthday is next month...
 

Kotori

In my little cloud
Basenotes Plus
Aug 17, 2006
Opium, first acquired in the 1970s, huge carnation, stunning drydown, superior to Youth Dew and Cinnabar. Worn by absolutely everyone at the time, therefore, Been there, done that, a phase. It was the 'Angel' of its time. Bought Bal a Versailles instead of Shalimar during 70s, 80s, didn't see the need for both. Confirm that Shalimar is now sharp and thin. Now own Eau de Shalimar 2015, very like Shalimar Eau Legere. Love this for my age and time. IMHO current offering, red bottle, Samsara is more wearable than the original (that was a Sandalwood millstone)

Never tried Bal a Versailles. Must rectify.

Excited to try Eau de Shalimar from a sample received from a generous Basenoter. Will report back.
 

Ebenas

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jan 1, 2006
Waaah! It's only Week 1 and I'm already seriously considering a bottle of Opium....I really do like it, and find myself returning to the shops for a spray,

I'll probably be shoplifting testers by Week 10!
 

Kotori

In my little cloud
Basenotes Plus
Aug 17, 2006
Shalimar Ode a la Vanilla Sur la Route du Mexique

I am already exhausted just typing all that out! Ah, well. Shalimar Mexique is pretty close to earlier versions of Shalimar, which is probably why I love it. It's a bit leatherier and smokier, with just a hint of gourmand/chocolate. There's a bit more Tonka in the Tonka/Iris balance. It's less lemony/sweaty than the 2000-2010 Shalimar EDT I had on a few days ago. This really does appeal to a modern palette. It wouldve probably been a good seller had it not been limited edition. I love the smoke and leather. This is so me.
 

Kotori

In my little cloud
Basenotes Plus
Aug 17, 2006
Eau de Shalimar

Ooh! Lime pie! Then lemon poundcake! Gourmand, yet sheer. Deep, but with a bit of the baby wipe cleanness to keep it reading as "fresh" to young audiences. It's no Eau Legere, but I can confirm it makes a good way to wear Shalimar in a warm climate. My 8-year-old is in heaven, and conspiring to buy "us" a bottle for my birthday.
 

Kotori

In my little cloud
Basenotes Plus
Aug 17, 2006
Shalimar EDP (current)

This is definitely not lacking assertiveness. But I don't really like it. Strong, flattish... focusing on smoke more than the EDT, and shying a bit away from the lemon of the EDT, yet somehow not less aggressive for it... it has some lasting power compared to current EDT, and the drydown is recognizably Shalimar. However, this is not a version I wish to own. Notably, my 8-year old, who was literally licking my arms while I was wearing Mexique on one arm and Eau de Shalimar on the other, did not recognize current EDP as Shalimar and emphatically did not like it.

For reference, I believe this formulation was the starting point for the Mexique flanker. There is a common note I recognize that is not present in the others. But Mexique goes both backwards and forwards in time in its olfactory references-- grabbing the sour lemon from the 2000-2010 EDT, the smokiness of current EDT, and the Leather of vintage versions.
 
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Bal a Versailles

Basenotes Dependent
Feb 15, 2012
Eau de Shalimar

Ooh! Lime pie! Then lemon poundcake! Gourmand, yet sheer. Deep, but with a bit of the baby wipe cleanness to keep it reading as "fresh" to young audiences. It's no Eau Legere, but I can confirm it makes a good way to wear Shalimar in a warm climate. My 8-year-old is in heaven, and conspiring to buy "us" a bottle for my birthday.

Kotori, I had a senior moment when I wrote about Eau de Shalimar. I do own two bottles of it, one just after JPG tweaked it and one just before discontinuation 2015 bottle, but it is the new 2015 'Cologne' that I am very taken with, this is the one most like Eau Legere. It's an EDT, not a cologne strength, just something to confuse us further. It came out about the same time as Souffle.
 

mikeperez23

Be Here. Now.
Basenotes Plus
Dec 31, 2006
I am sort of late to the party Ebenas - thank you for doing these threads and wow, you went straight for the Good Stuff, as Shalimar and Opium are just Oriental classics, and such wonderful representations of fine French perfumery.

Opium. I don't own a bottle. I realized that it's a scent I love, and I really appreciate, but I never wore it when I had a decant. And I had a decant of the FANTASTIC vintage Parfum. I also had samples gifted to me of the vintage EdT, EdP and the Secret de Parfum (or something like that) in addition to the aforementioned Parfum. So I feel like I know Opium very well. Let me also say that my Mom used to wear this, so smelling it is full of a lot of 'mom' memories for me and of...being a kid...in the Late 70's - Early 80's when Dynasty was on TV and women's jackets had big shoulder pads and Miami Vice was on TV and fragrances were powerhouses and forceful (like Kouros and Lagerfeld and Polo and Aramis and Giorgio Beverly Hills, etc). So I took this into consideration when I wore Opium - because some times when I wore it it was just Too Much. There is a lot of aldehydes in it. They smell almost like melted butter...they're buttery. Some aldehydes are. It's also spicy (my favorite part). And, one important thing about Opium: it has a LOT of myrrh. I realized that probably months into wearing it & something clicked thereafter and every time after that when I wore it, my nose immediately clicked on the myrrh. It has a rich, powerful root beer sort of aura to it...slightly creamy but effervescent. I love that part! I found that the Eau de Parfum version was the one that I had to apply the lightest - if not it got cloying. I wore the EdP to bed once - never again. It actually kept me awake. Chokingly. Whereas the EdT you could spray normally. The Parfum was super strong, so I always only applied 2 sprays. Lovely stuff. I am pretty sure that Turin/Sanchez included Opium in this list because they were talking about the Parfum version of this scent - it really is beautiful. If you are an Opium fan then you really should try your best to smell the Parfum at least once in your life. If I remember correctly, Opium was a game-changer for Yves St. Laurent and made him and his company a WHOLE LOT of $ when it debuted in New York City with a huge marketing push that included a ship decorated with models, etc. Jerry Hall, was in most print ads (Mick Jaggers ex) Again, the Late 70's - Eighties. Everything was big and over the top. Even the name - back then (pre-Tom Ford) people thought it was scandalous to name a fragrance after a drug. Which, of course, only made people want to smell it more. Fast forward Dior made Poison. And then Addict. And now we have Tom Ford releasing a scent called Fucking Fabulous. lol. Oh and Tom Ford...you know he used to work for a short time at YSL, right? Under his tenure he released several fragrances (M7, Cinema, Rive Gauche Pour Homme) and he also re-marketed the existing fragrances that YSL had. The Tom Ford Opium ads were, par for the course, very racy and sexual. I think they're my favorite Opium ads. Here's a few:

3-lz411-analysing-advertising-5-638.jpg

Emily_Blunt_Yves_Saint_Laurent_Opium_Campaign-thumb-600x450-5719.jpg

bf5ea988ad0b2f570f998d706ceafcaf--tom-ford-perfume-perfume-ad.jpg
 
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Kotori

In my little cloud
Basenotes Plus
Aug 17, 2006
Black Opium

One of those flankers that bears no relationship to its predecessor. An unharmonious shock of synthetic jasmine, coffee, ethyl maltol, and raspberry or cherry flavoring syrup. It begins with an in-your-face dose of jasmine and coffee. The heart is mostly ethyl maltol and fruity syrup. The drydown is hazy synthetic musks that are calibrated so that many people will not be able to smell them. It makes me itchy and sad, and alittle bit sick.
 
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Ebenas

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jan 1, 2006
hi Mikeperez! I remember the first ad well - it was amazing to see it published in magazines. I have become a bit of an Opium addict myself. Hope you come on over to Week 2 and give us your tuppence worth on Homme and Eau Sauvage!
 

thediamondsea

Basenotes Dependent
Jan 10, 2016

One thing that I've noticed about Tom Ford's iconography (and, btw, I've kind of seen the same thing with many of the TF-driven perfumes, especially under his own label) is that there's usually a vintage(ish) reference point--and, with the perfumes, there's very often a discontinued or reformulated-to-death original that I think the TF perfume tries to capture, which I think is great, since it keeps those ideas current, or at least tries to do so (lately I've been thinking about Sahara Noir and the legendary Norma Kamali Incense, for example; or White Patchouli and Coriandre). Some people might argue that the TF versions come a little *too* close to the referent, but I think it's also about rethinking what we consider classics.

And those Kate Moss ads always remind me of this series of images of Marianne Faithfull from the 60s. I feel like there's one with her arms over her head, but I can't find it.
marianne-2.jpg
 

Ebenas

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jan 1, 2006
We are - until tomorrow - but all threads stay open - I reckon what will happen is that the current week's thread stays stickied and so does the first week's which serves as an index. I have been totally out of action for a few days with head cold, and have to run off and get week 3 - the dreaded Halloween version - Angel and Poison - up and running! Hope to see you there!

Week 3 now up

Week 3: HALLOWEEN: Poison (Dior) / Angel (Mugler)
 
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Ebenas

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jan 1, 2006
Thanks kotori - it's a work trip to a lab doing some very interesting stuff - I somehow managed to get a nasty cold/flu as soon as I arrived and have spent the weekend cooped up in my hotel room - but hopefully I'll be back in action tomorrow.
 

mikeperez23

Be Here. Now.
Basenotes Plus
Dec 31, 2006
I've been really busy at work this month, or I would have written about Shalimar more before this, since I love Shalimar. Seeing it, listed alongside Opium I sort of felt a sense of pride.

Without going into a whole bunch of rambling about it I'll try to encapsulate my experiences with it chronologically:

1. I always saw my Grandmother (my Dad's mom - Puerto RIcan) get a bottle of the round dial shaped bottle every wedding anniversary. When I would sleep over her house she had this awesome fluffy blanket that I loved sleeping in. Now, I realize, the blanket had the remnants of Shalimar on it. So...when I finally realized I liked Shalimar and made the Grandma-blanket-association I almost started crying since I miss my Grandmother who died several years ago. A smiling, sweet hearted, short lady who always had a hug and a kiss for me
2. Read a whole bunch about it here on BN
3. Bought the EdC blind, at Walgreens...for god's sake. The bottle was 1990's style, the black & gold box. Hated it. TOO POWDERY. Put it away and came back to it later. Tried it again in a few days. Hated it less. Again...hated it less...then I started liking it. Then it clicked. Then I started loving it
4.Smelled the EdT at an airport duty free store, obviously not vintage like my EdC. HATED it. It really did smell like shit to me. Note to self: Avoid the EdT
5. Bought the vintage Parfum blind. Immediately liked it. NOW I finally understood Shalimar. That gasoline-type top note - whoa! Love that. SInce then I've gone thru about 3 bottles of Parfum, 2 vintage and 1 new
6. Scored a bottle of the much lauded Parfum de Toilette. Ace stuff!
7. Started trying the flankers. LOVED the Shalimar Eau Legere (yellow batwing bottle). Thought the Eau de Shalimar wasn't as good...but I kept it and when I make my bed I spray the sheets down with this. Bought the Ode de la Vanille flanker blind immediately upon release and loved it. Bought a backup bottle. Then the Chocolate one...forgot the name
8. Tried the newest flankers - do not like them at all. It's been several flankers in now that I have tried (Souffle, Initial, etc) & all of them, especially the ones with added iris notes, annoy my nose. I mean I know that Shalimar has iris but the 'new' iris note they've added seems out of place.
9. I will always be with this scent in my wardrobe. Preferably old-as-possible Parfum and the EdC (from the 80's-90's)
10. Oh and one time I did enjoy some EdT, but it was from a VERY OLD bottle from 1920's. I'll probably never get to enjoy that again.
 

grayspoole

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Feb 4, 2014
Happy holidays everyone! It's Christmas Eve morning here, too early to start cooking, so I put on some vintage Shalimar parfum and climbed back into bed. Yes, I’m living large.

Vintage Shalimar

For a confirmed vintage geek, it took me a good while to get to know Shalimar. I did not have any personal memories of this perfume, lovely, poignant, unsettling or otherwise, like Kotori, Mikeperez and thediamondsea. Spritzes of the current EDT at the department store were not persuasive.

Then, a couple of years ago, at an estate sale, I encountered quite a large array of vintage Shalimar bottles. I almost didn’t buy any, but I made myself go back and purchase a 500 ml vintage Shalimar EDT (one of those crazy“goutte” flacons, about ¾ full, from 1987) almost as a duty. Estate sales can leave me melancholy about the brevity of life and all that, so I did some research after the fact and learned that it was really a divorce sale. So I now think that all of those beautiful bottles of Shalimar were defiantly left behind, along with the memories of the marriage gone awry, which seems quite sensible to me and makes me feel better about my huge bottle of Shalimar.

The vintage EDT is, unsurprisingly, quite wonderful. The pre-IFRA restriction bergamot sings out with rounded, juicy tartness, and it dries down to a smoky incense. This EDT sold me on Shalimar, so then I found some 1950’s parfum. Yeah, that’s pretty good too. There is a specific hint of petrol in Shalimar that is both unsettling and yet beguiling to me. I don’t enjoy the modern approximations of this note at all, but I do like the vintage forms of it. GCMS could probably explain why; I can’t.

After being indifferent to Shalimar, I now think it is one of the most distinctive and immediately recognizable scents around. It lingers in the ambient air in a delightful way. I pick up its scent in empty elevators in my parent’s apartment building. I stayed in a New York hotel that I decided was scenting its lobby with Shalimar (at first I thought it was the trail of another guest, but I smelled it every day I was there. My family thought I was going mad. Perhaps it was the ghost of a former resident?)

As you can probably tell, vintage Shalimar isn’t really “me” (vintage Miss Dior undoubtedly is) but it is a scent that I wear it with great pleasure and appreciation for its artistry.

P.S. Thanks again, Ebenas, for organizing these topics...they’re wonderful for opening up fascinating dialogues about classic perfumes and I enjoy reading everyone's comments so much.
 

Ebenas

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jan 1, 2006
I would ike to know who is the person that forced 100 happy people of the Vetiver Wednesday to be kicked out of the stickies in favor of that umpteenth Turin thread.... as a sticky??? And also: how is it possible to 'bribe' admins to do that against 20-30 weekly posters???

To clarify:

  • This thread is an index to a set of 48 threads recording a 'quest' held in 2017, where a number of Basenoters 'sync'd' on a weekly basis on two fragrances from the Top 100 Turin/Sanchez book- one thread per week - this information is in the first post on this thread.
  • The quest was not about or written by Luca Turin or any other person - it's a compendium of members' opinions on almost 100 classic perfumes gathered into one place. This may be of interest to perfume lovers, particularly newcomer, and could equally well be hosted on a newcomers forum.
  • Nobody 'bribed' anybody, a suggestion was made that this be stickied - there was no intention from me (I imagine I am the only person who could be the target of any bribery accusations) to bump any other thread.
  • If anyone has the time or inclination to count, I'd say that the 48 threads of the quest would amount to quite a few posts. As they are each about members' opinions on specific perfumes I'd also feel pretty confident saying they meet any 'consensus kind of threads' standard.
  • Incidentally, there are a number of other 'lost' threads related to sample passes that would be great to put together for easy reference - there was a suggestion on the vetiver sync thread that stickies could be used to index types of thread - I'd second this. Two good examples are the Avon sample pass and the Iris sample pass held a few years ago.

Hope this clears up any misunderstanding. Of course, it's up to the mods to decide on any changes needed.
 

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